You’ve probably heard of this island at least once, right? The sandy beaches, abundance of palm trees, and amazing snorkeling and diving hotspots are just some of the few attractions that draw people to the second largest island of Thailand. But if you’re looking for some other things to do in Koh Samui, we’ve got the perfect list for you.
Here are 10 things you absolutely have to do before leaving this paradise!
Also known as the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park (Mu Ko meaning ‘bowl of gold’), this pristine archipelago – comprised of more than 40 islands – is a definite must-see when in Koh Samui. Think white sand beaches, amazing waterfalls, lush forests, limestone mountains… list goes on! You can do everything from snorkel, dive, relax, or simply take in the incredible views.
2. Chill in one (or more!) of Koh Samui’s many beaches
Being one of Thailand’s largest islands, Koh Samui boasts some of the best coastlines you’ll see. Chaweng Beach is a popular haunt, especially if you want to experience some island nightlife. Other notable beaches are Lamai Beach and Mae Nam Beach, which are typically less populated but just as beautiful.
3. Go temple hopping and discover Thai history and culture
One way to appreciate history and culture in the area is by visiting some temples. If you’re in the northern part of the island, the Big Buddha temple with its 39-foot gold-painted Buddha statue is a famous landmark definitely worth visiting.
Just a kilometer and a half away lies Wat Plai Laem, another Buddhist temple with stunning architecture that offers a look into Chinese-Thai culture and beliefs. If you’re on the southern part of the island, check out Laem Sor Pagoda and Guan Yu Shrine.
4. Visit the Hin Ta and Hin Yai formations
Legend has it that these famous rock formations came about when grandfather (Ta) and grandmother (Yai) went by boat to a neighboring province to ask for a young woman’s hand in marriage for their son. On the way to the province, their boat got caught in a storm and the couple were drowned at sea. The rock formations are supposed to resemble them as is seen in the somewhat titillating resemblance to male and female genitalia.
5. Explore the Fisherman’s Village
Once a thriving fishing community, the Fisherman’s Village in Bophut is now filled with restaurants, bars, and vendors selling everything from street food to souvenirs. Right by Bophut Beach, you can choose to have a meal by the waterfront, go shopping for knickknacks, or just stroll around and take in the sights (and smells)!
6. Discover the Secret Buddha Garden
Also known as the ‘Magic Garden’ or ‘Heaven’s Garden’, the Secret Buddha Garden was built by a humble durian farmer and is situated atop Pom Mountain – one of Koh Samui’s highest peaks. The (not so secret anymore) garden features numerous statues of Buddha and other aspects of Buddhism, such as birds, snakes, and other animals.
7. Marvel at the beauty of natural waterfalls
We won’t lie, temperatures in Koh Samui can get scalding hot (it’s a tropical island after all!), and one way you can cool down is to visit a waterfall. And there are a lot to choose from!
The most famous is the Na Muang Waterfalls. The first waterfall is an easy 2-minute walk from the entrance and has a large swimming hole for locals and tourists to swim in. The second is an approximate 30-minute semi-vigorous hike, but is definitely less populated. Btw, entrance to the waterfall is FREE! If you’re looking for alternatives to Na Muang, I recommend Khun Si, Hin Lad, and Wang Sao Thong.
8. See the mummified monk at Wat Khunaram
Okay, before you freak out, let it be known that most Thai Buddhists are quite accepting of death, viewing it as an opportunity to be reborn. The mummified monk is actually Luong Pordaeng who died in a seated meditative position more than 45 years ago!
Astonishingly, you’ll find that the monk’s body actually shows only a few signs of decay, and is seen as a religious symbol that reminds people of their transient existence as part of humanity.
9. Take some photos and party it up at Woobar
Looking to party it up? Woobar is a hip and trendy bar (with plenty of Instagrammable places FYI) that is the place to be when the sun goes down. With spectacular views of the sunset and plenty of signature cocktails to go ’round, your stay just wouldn’t be complete without some time spent in this iconic place.
10. Stroll through the Chaweng Night Market
Of course your trip wouldn’t be complete without sampling some of the local street food, right? The Chaweng Night Market has everything from local snacks and fresh lobster dishes to cocktails and pizza! (Yes, pizza!) So if you’re looking for cheap, local (they even have some international cuisines too!) food, then this is the place to be.
So there you have it! Just a starter list of things to do in the beautiful island of Koh Samui. Whether you’re in the island for some R&R, want to learn some history and culture, or just want to pig out on the local delicacies, there are always going to be activities to find and do in Koh Samui.
Have you travelled to Koh Samui before? Or are you planning a trip soon? Did we miss out on anything here? Let us know in the comments below!